For the last 18 years, Peter Zell, who was a lawyer in California before retirement, has been dabbling in art.
"My wife suggested that I take art classes at night as a stress reliever. I started doing that because there was a local community college between my house and the office. So I took the usual painting and drawing courses and I got into it like that," Zell said.
Over time, Zell went from charcoal to watercolors, acrylics to oil.
Peter Zell during a paint out last October at the Bubble Room.
"I always wanted to get into oil. My father painted with oils," Zell said. "He gave me an appreciation of the medium."
The types of artists he favors the most are Post-Impressionists and Fauvists like Matisse. Zell describes his own art as "representational with abstract qualities."
After 32 years of practicing law in Southern California, Zell retired and moved to Sanibel with his wife, Carol in 2005.
Shortly after moving to Sanibel, Zell was nominated "New Artist of the Year" by the Lee County Alliance for the Arts in 2008. During that same year, he was featured as an "emerging artist" in Grandeur Magazine. Also, in 2013 and 2015, a few of his paintings were juried into the annual Mid-Year Exhibition of the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio.
In addition to being an award-winning artist, Zell has also donated a few of his works to Art for ACT and other local organizations.
Since moving to Sanibel, he has been heavily involved with the Sanibel-Captiva Art League. He has served as their past president, now he regularly participates in their paint outs and exhibits.
The Sanibel-Captiva Art League was established in 1964 with the intention to promote art on the islands. The league offers monthly meetings, weekly paint out sessions and studio classes. They also hold juried shows and exhibits at local banks, the Sanibel Public Library and BIG ARTS.
"They're a good example of what an art league can do to help everybody," Zell said.
Zell credits the critiques at the weekly paint outs with shaping him as an artist.
"One of the big things about the paint out is the critique. That's what a lot of people rely on to help them move forward," Zell said.
For the rest of April, Zell will have an exhibit on view at the Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, 2475 Library Way, during normal business hours. For more information on Zell, go to peterzellartist.com.